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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

best collection of ancient ruined temples to explore in Thailand. The train was a real experience, shared with people from all walks of Thai life, including people carrying their belongings in two stripy bags attached to either ends of a pole (as I had seen in China) and Buddhist monks with their shaven heads and distinctive orange clothes. It's odd to see monks just wandering the busy streets of Bangkok - makes me think of Grand Theft Auto for some reason...

On arriving, I wandered out of the small station and took a ferry over the river to the main island of Ayuthaya. It is a river island formed by the confluence of three rivers, and was a prime location for trade, hence its rise as capital of Siam. There was a marked difference between Ayuthaya and Bangkok. This is real Thailand: dusty streets and market stalls. I checked into a guesthouse called Tony's Place, purely because it had a recommended communal area with films, a pool table and a bar, and I was keen to meet up with other travellers after a few days going solo. Unfortunately, when I signed the roster I was slightly disheartened to find no other solo travellers had checked in the last two days.

I decided to hit one Wat today, the towering Wat Ratburana with its Khmer-influence architecture still impressively intact, and ate in a